The number of daily active Android users in China has surpassed 270 million, according to a new report from Baidu, China’s dominant search company. To give an idea of the significance of that number, Google announced in September that it had activated a total of 1 billion Android devices to date — clearly China’s smartphone (and indeed Android) market is enormous.
Chinese Android app store Wandoujia recently estimated that more than 70 percent of Android smartphones in China lack Google Play services, which makes Baidu’s data extremely valuable when it comes to dissecting information about Android users in the country. Most phones in China are also sold with Baidu or other default services replacing Google.
Despite the Baidu report showing that new Android users in China have been growing at a slower pace throughout 2013, it also finds that Chinese Android users are spending more time on their mobile devices — 150 minutes per day, up by 26 minutes from the same quarter last year. They check their phones 53 times a day, up by 11.3 percent from a year earlier.
And Chinese Android users have a love for apps — on average, they downloaded 10.5 apps a month in Q3 2013, up from 8.2 times a year earlier. In the third quarter, 15 percent of users downloaded a new app a day — up from 11 percent a year earlier.
China is already the world’s largest smartphone market, and Baidu’s data provides signs that the mobile revolution is spreading to new demographics. Third- and fourth-tier cities in China now make up 45 percent of Android users in the country, up from 35 percent in the same period last year.
Despite the Chinese becoming increasingly connected, cellular connection is still not as robust or as cheaply available. The Baidu report finds that Wi-Fi is still the number one way for Chinese users to access the Internet — making up 46 percent of the total Internet access time, while they go online 31 percent of the time via 2G and a mere 23 percent via 3G.
Among the Chinese Internet giants, it seems like Tencent is becoming the king of the Android mobile market.
The Baidu report finds that Tencent takes top spot as the company with the most mobile apps installed on smartphones in China, with 3.6 apps on average, while Baidu takes second place with 2.5 apps.
This is due to Tencent’s strength in social networking apps — the report notes that in Q3 2013, Tencent-owned mobile QQ and WeChat occupy two of the top three apps in the social networking and chat apps category, which are the second-most downloaded group of apps following lifestyle and entertainment ones.
Consequently, Tencent has the most number of daily active users, followed by Baidu — but both have more than 150 million daily active users.
As the report is specific to Baidu, the search giant also notes that daily active users on its mobile search engine have surpassed 130 million, with 36 percent of the users accessing it daily.
The latest Baidu report shows plenty of evidence that the world’s largest smartphone market is a thriving Android marketplace — and this is something worth developers looking out for, though they would likely have to target third-party app stores, given how different the app store dynamic is in China.
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